The 4 Types of Leaders Every Team Needs


Author Rick Foster spoke at a conference I attended of the world’s top master coaches recently held in Las Vegas.  He spoke about the intersection of leadership and happiness.  One of the concepts he shared with us is relevant to any leader, coach or business person who wants to ensure that results happen as efficiently and effectively as possible. Rick described 4 Types, that just happen to correspond to animals, and this simple system can be useful to anyone leading a team to determine if you have the right combination of skills and approaches represented on the team for the results you are seeking to accomplish.
These four types of course exist within all of us, but the point is that each of us has one that we truly prefer as our most natural state and our best strengths.  They seem to roughly correlate to the Jungian personality types (Meyers Briggs) or colors, but Foster says the animal construct is easier for most people to remember. My notes from that session are below…Which one are you?

The 4 Types of Leaders Overview:

  1. Beavers:  Data, concrete, structure, organization, process, logistics
  2. Dolphins: Big picture concepts, ideas, harmony, heart, intuition
  3. Owls:  Big picture systems, analysis, competence, head, strategy
  4. Foxes:  Concrete, speed, action, ground, tactics

The 4 Types of Leaders Detail:

  • Beavers:  Like the animal, these leaders are industrious, builders, they function best in clan, they are all about organization and their role within it, they are role-specific, convergent, lists, also called The Guardians.  They like processes, systems, detailed organization.  They are the ones with super organized and color-coded closets.
  • Dolphins: These leaders are conceptual, intelligent, social, curious, intuitive, playful, communal, they are heart-driven, communication is key – even complex communications, they work best in pods/families where everyone does everything (not role-specific), warm and friendly, collaborative, can kill if attacked but they want harmony.  They are sensitive, empathetic souls…also called The Saviors. They have a long memory, but will stay too long in a job or relationship or situation trying to make it work instead of cutting losses and moving on.
  • Owls: These leaders look at the whole system, they see everything, vision is important. They are intense, deliberate, and analytical… also called The Visionaries.  They think they are right, they operate best solo and are very strategic.  Like the animal, they hunt from above, they survey the scene to spot the prey and swoop in – they are on the ground for mere seconds, devour their prey, then spit out the bones.  They value competency and believe they can do it better.
  • Foxes:  These leaders are speedy, sly, clever, they get it done, their motto is “just do it”.  They are in constant motion, with a bias for action. They are also called The Artisans.  Independent and fearless, 90% of pro athletes are foxes, as are most ER docs and nurses.

The 4 Types of Leaders Percentage of the Population:

  • Beavers:  35%
  • Dolphins: 15%
  • Owls:  35%
  • Foxes:  15%


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